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My Teenager won't do his laundry!

Q: This year I decided that enough is enough.  I showed my nineteen year old son how to use the washer and dryer and told him it is now his responsibility to do his own laundry.  He doesn't do his laundry until the hamper is overflowing on the floor. It makes me crazy.  I keep reminding him, but he still won't do it.  I am going crazy!  Help!

A: Children can usually do their own laundry around the age of ten and sometimes younger.  They have the cognitive and physical skills to do it.  Doing it for them robs them of opportunities to learn time management, the art of responsibility, and the satisfaction that come along with independence.

Since you told him it was his responsibility then try to stop reminding him (Us mom's call it reminding, they probably feel like it is nagging).  Just remind yourself that it is his dirty laundry. Some people like to wash their laundry every weekend, some do it when their favorite clothes are dirty, others wait until two or three hampers are over flowing.  It doesn't really matter each of us gets to decide how we want to do laundry.

Q: I am afraid. What if he breaks my washer.

A: Teach him how to use it, model using it, help him read the manual, and let him practice at first with you close by.  

Q: What if they use too much soap?

A: Teach him how much to use.  When my children were first starting to use the washing machine I poured detergent into little travel size shampoo bottles and kept 10 of them on the shelf.  I added the task of filling them to the weekly chores.  Now with detergent pods it can be even easier.  Just be careful of the safety precautions especially if you have younger children.

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